Sharp SunSnap Solar Debuts As ‘Home Appliance’

In late 2011, Sharp announced that it had developed a modular solar system designed specifically for easy-adoption by the average homeowner. According to the company, Sharp hopes the SunSnap AC Solution will be “a new retail-friendly solar electric appliance designed to expand and simplify the mainstream adoption and use of solar energy….”

Sharp promised to kick off SunSnap sales through distributers and dealers in early 2012, and we promised to keep you posted. Now, we’re happy to report that the SunSnap made its public debut as part of the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach earlier this month. Attendees were treated to a collaborative display made possible by LivingHomes and Paramount Solar that demonstrated just how easy it will be for future homes to achieve zero energy and zero carbon.

Sharp SolarSnap

image via Sharp Electronics

Marketed as a “home appliance,” the SnapSolar system consists of black-on-black 235-watt Sharp photovoltaic (PV) modules designed to make roof top installation more aesthetically pleasing. This was demonstrated tastefully on the LivingHome C6: a low-cost, energy-efficient, prefab home also on display at TED2012. Thanks to the Sharp-enhanced Zep Compatible mounting and grounding system and high-efficiency microinverters from Enphase Energy, the system is easy to install while still packing in a ton of energy generating capacity.

Aside from being more affordable than your average permanent home solar array, the SunSnap is one of the first systems to take a starter kit approach to residential energy production. By converting direct current (DC) from the solar modules to grid-compliant alternating current (AC) at the module-level, the Enphase microinverter system creates independent power producers out of each solar module in an array. This means homeowners can start small and then expand the roof top in the future as often as desired.

The SunSnap Solution will first be available through traditional solar distributers and dealers beginning this month. Sharp expects to expand SunSnap sales to retail channels such as popular consumer electronics retailers, in the second half of 2012.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Kim

      Still need a licensed electrician to tie into the grid…